Soccer News: Historic Week With Records Set On The Field And In The Stands
The USL regular season has brought its fair share of drama so far this season, with numerous contests being decided in the closing minutes. Nothing, however, compared to the drama at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night, which saw a league record set by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Harrisburg City Islanders. Other club marks also went tumbling in the stands, as record numbers saw another great weekend of action in the USL.
The Riverhounds recorded the most remarkable victory in their history as they rallied to take victory in the Keystone Derby at Highmark Stadium, as the two teams set a new USL regular-season record for most combined goals in a game. Harrisburg held a 3-0 lead at the halftime break, but the Riverhounds fought back as Rob Vincent and Amara Soumah scored in the first seven minutes of the second half. The City Islanders kept Pittsburgh at arm’s length, and held a 5-3 lead in the final minute, but goals by Danny Earls – his second of the game – Vincent and Kevin Kerr in second-half stoppage time saw the hosts send the Steel Army into rapturous celebrations.
“I saw the space open. If I was going to take it, I figured I had about a 40-percent chance of scoring, and Kevin was about 90. I just stayed composed to play it for him, and the whole team wins,” said Pittsburgh Riverhounds midfielder Lebo Moloto, whose pass found Kevin Kerr for the game-winner.
Louisville set a new home attendance record as 7,185 fans filled Slugger Field to see City remain undefeated at home in the third clash for the King’s Cup this season. Louisville claimed the first meeting between the teams this season, and took the lead five minutes into the second half as Kadeem Dacres headed home a cross by Charlie Adams for his third goal of the season. Saint Louis hit back with 20 minutes remaining, however, as Charles Renken tied the game to earn a point and keep its hopes of claiming the rivalry trophy alive.
LA Galaxy II midfield standout Raul Mendiola scored in stoppage time to lift Los Dos to victory at the StubHub Center, and move his side up into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. The Switchbacks had taken the lead in the 17th minute on a fine finish by Miguel Gonzalez, but the Galaxy II got back on level terms in first-half stoppage time as Andre Auras’ delivery was put home by Daniel Steres. Both sides had chances to take the lead in the second half, but in stoppage time a good knock-down by Jack McBean found Mendiola, who turned his defender well and sent a low shot home for his second game-winning goal of the season.
Energy FC jumped past the Aztex and into the Western Conference’s playoff positions as a goal by Kyle Greig proved the difference at Taft Stadium on Sunday night. Neither side was able to create much in the way of clear scoring opportunities in the first half, but with just less than 20 minutes remaining Greig was in the right place at the right time to put home a sliding finish after a cross had popped up high above the Aztex’s penalty area. His third goal of the season sent Austin to a third consecutive defeat in league play, which dropped the Aztex out of the top six.
BY THE NUMBERS
385 – With the Charleston Battery’s 1-0 win on Saturday against Wilmington, the Battery’s regular-season home undefeated streak reached 385 days. The club is 11-0-5 in that time, with the Hammerheads the last side to take victory at Blackbaud Stadium on May 10, 2014.
45 – Following Saturday’s contest, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds lead the league both in goals scored (25) and goals conceded (20).
11 – The Rochester Rhinos’ 11-game undefeated streak to start the season is tied for second in club history with their start in 2006. The club’s record is 14 games, in 1998.
3 – Pittsburgh’s Lebo Moloto became the first player in the USL to record three assists in one game this season in his side’s victory against Harrisburg.
Saturday, May 30
Richmond Kickers 4, New York Red Bulls II 2
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 6, Harrisburg City Islanders 5
Rochester Rhinos 1, FC Montreal 0
Louisville City FC 1, Saint Louis FC 1
Portland Timbers 2 3, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1
Orange County Blues FC 1, Seattle Sounders FC 2 1
Sacramento Republic FC 1, Real Monarchs SLC 1
LA Galaxy II 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1
Charleston Battery 1, Wilmington Hammerheads FC 0
“We’re going to take three points and we’re going to get out of this hectic schedule we’ve had and run with it. Sometimes you have games like this and obviously we’re a little fortunate that we got out of here with all three points.” – Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser following his side’s 1-0 win against Wilmington Hammerheads FC
“He brings a lot of size, a lot of strength up top, and he’s a nightmare for opposition defenders to play against. His experience being a professional – he’s played overseas, he’s played in Europe – when he protects the ball you can’t get through him. He’s very crafty on his runs, on his turns, and in the game situations he’s always in the right place at the right time. He’s scored big goals already for us this season.” Rochester Rhinos defender Onua Obasi on teammate Steven dos Santos, whose goal kept the Eastern Conference leaders undefeated with a 1-0 win against Montreal.
“I was very confident after [the three-save sequence] that we’d do what we had to do at the other end. It was a huge momentum shift. If they score to make it 1-1 at that point, who knows how the rest of the game plays out?” – Richmond Kickers goalkeeper Ryan Taylor, whose three-save sequence from a penalty kick kept his side ahead as it went on to a 4-2 win against New York Red Bulls II
Sunday, May 31
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2, Arizona United SC 0
OKC Energy FC 1, Austin Aztex 0
Friday, June 5
OKC Energy FC vs. Portland Timbers 2, 8 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 10:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 6
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Saint Louis FC, 1 p.m. ET
FC Montreal vs. New York Red Bulls II, 6:30 p.m. ET
Wilmington Hammerheads FC vs. Charleston Battery, 7 p.m. ET
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Toronto FC II, 7 p.m. ET
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, 9 p.m. ET
Orange County Blues FC vs. LA Galaxy II, 10 p.m. ET
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Austin Aztex, 11 p.m. ET
Sunday, June 7
Richmond Kickers vs. Charlotte Independence, 5 p.m. ET
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